Butternut Squash and Hearty Grains Salad

December 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Butternut squash oooh what I’d do with you. Soups, stews, risottos, salads, just plain roasted… talk about versatility. This time, I mixed it up with a blend of hearty grains from Trader Joe’s, some ricotta salata cheese and onions. I started out aiming for this recipe from Smitten Kitchen but wound up with some substitutes that undoubtedly changed the results. This salad tastes just like fall with the sweet, roasted squash, salty cheese and some sauteed onions.

Ingredients (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

  •  1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup grain of choice (Trader Joe’s blend includes Israeli couscous, baby garbanzo beans, red quinoa and orzo)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta salata crumbled or coarsely grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (original recipe calls for a red)

First step is roasting the squash. Preheat the oven to 375° and then get to peeling. Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Below are the tools you’ll need.

Peeled SquashThen cut the squash into about 1/2 inch pieces. Coat a baking sheet with 2 tbsp. olive oil,turn the squash to coat then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pop them in the oven for about 30-45 minutes turning occasionally. Once it’s done (soft to pierce) set aside to cool.

Roasted Butternut SquashWhen the squash is in the oven, it’s time to cook your grains. Mine only needed 10 minutes to cook but the farro in Smitten Kitchen needed a half an hour. Cook your grain according to the package instructions.

Cooked GrainsWhile the grain is going on the stove top, saute your onions and whisk together the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, water, sugar and salt until the salt and sugar dissolve.

Translucent Onions

The original recipe uses a pickled red onion instead which I’m sure adds a really great bite. I can’t wait to try it that way.

When the onions are translucent, stir them into the vinaigrette.

SauceThen it’s time to put it all together. Pour the grains and the squash into a large bowl then add the cheese and the onion sauce to taste. Enjoy!

DinnerI had this as a side with some roasted pork loin and greens but I am very much looking forward to leftovers tomorrow for lunch! This is also great when entertaining since it doesn’t need to be served piping hot.






Brussels Sprouts Salad

November 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ever since this dinner, at Sunda in Chicago, my eyes have been opened to a world of raw brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts that are delicious without being roasted or smothered in sauce or topped with bacon. Of course all of those preparations are delicious but there is a sea of brussels sprouts salad recipes out there so I picked this one since it seemed simple and light enough plus the ingredients are things you’ll most likely have on hand.

Ingredients adapted from Shutterbean

  • about 14 oz Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1/2 cup ParmigianoReggiano, finely grated
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, in pieces
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cinder vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper

A heaping teaspoon of brown sugar and a 1/4 tbsp. butter doesn’t hurt when toasting up the walnuts. Medium heat for about 8 minutes

Set the nuts aside to cool and start prepping the brussels sprouts. After rinsing, cut off the hard ends and chop thinly. If you have a mandolin that gets the job done well.

Place the sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Add the walnuts and shaved cheese.

Whisk the olive oil, cider, mustard and salt and pepper together. Combine with the sprouts, walnuts and cheese mixture.

Mix it all up and serve!

Arugala with Diced Dates and Blue Cheese

August 23, 2012 § 3 Comments

This week I inadvertently made a transitional salad. I didn’t realize the combination would have subtle hints of fall to come while still being sweet and peppery enough for August. I used store-bought diced dates so the process was a cinch, just a matter of whipping up the dressing.

Toss arugala with diced dates. BOOM two ingredients done.

I quickly learned shredding was not the way to go–blue cheese is much easier to crumble by hand.

Dressing from Gourmet Made Simple:

1 shallot minced (unless you are a huge fan of shallots, I would maybe use 1/2)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vegetable stock 
1 tsp honey

I personally thought my shallots were not “minced” enough, I prefer a finer texture but the larger pieces provide much more of a bite.

Whisk it all together. I actually used chicken broth instead of vegetable stock since I had it on hand. I can’t imagine the overall effect is very different but it is worth a test!

The sweetness of the dates and creaminess of the blue cheese balances the peppery arugala and bite from the shallots for a perfect warm-weather-turning effect.

I think it’s good now through October.

Something about this combo is just SCREAMING for a flatbread variation…





The Easiest Summer Salad… And It Includes Everybody’s Favorite Food Group

July 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

I made promises yesterday of fried cheese and that is one food group I do not kid around about, so here you are. This salad is so versatile–use it as a base to add in whatever your palette prefers or it is simply delicious as is. I start out with just a baby spring mix and add in whatever veggies I have on hand.

Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumber. I love forgoing the tomatoes and doing a thinly sliced radish for an extra bite.

Next, prepare the fried goat cheese. If you pop the log into the freezer for 15 minutes or so, it will be easier to slice. Once you have your slices of goat cheese, dust them with flour, dip them in whisked eggs and cover in breadcrumbs (I used store-bought panko and added a little dried parsley).

Frying Station: Cutting board, Flour, Egg, Bread Crumbs, Foil Plate

They’ll look something like this:

Then, toss them in a pan with heated oil on medium and flip so each side browns evenly.

Sigh. So pretty

Once the cheese slices (patties?) are nice and crispy and brown, set them on a paper towel while you prepare the dressing.

This is the BEST, lightest, simplest dressing out there. I virtually stopped buying bottled dressing because I use this all the time.

3 parts e.v.o.o to 1 part red wine vinegar (for two servings, I use 3:1 tbsp.) + pinch salt + pinch pepper + pinch parsley. This is really great with a squirt of lemon juice too to brighten it up.

Whisk together with a fork and once you assemble your salad and toppings, add the dressing and top with fried goat cheese.

Oh hey Indoor Summer Corn from Yesterday

Bon Apetite!

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with Salad at .

%d bloggers like this: